Yay or nay: graphic photos after tragedy

Written by Arielle Emmett, the article “Too Graphic?” describes journalism in regards to graphic photographs.

While it varies among news sources, generally journalists avoid graphic images in order to not offend viewers or readership, and out of respect to those involved. However, after the earthquake in Haiti, journalists went all out. They sent as many gruesome, wretched images as they could possible snap back to the United States for publication.

Like always, there were varying opinions. Michele McNally of the New York Times notes that the photographs after the Haiti disaster were uncharacteristically graphic in the news was because that’s what the Haitians wanted – they wanted the rest of the world to know the hell they were experiencing.

However, some Haitians were against the images, viewing them as an insult to the country. Many found the images unnecessary and that simply writing the facts about the earthquake – without the accompaniment of the photographs – would have sufficed.

Personally, I see both sides of the argument. A giant perk of publishing and sharing images of the tragedy is that the photographs can open the eyes of supporters, better than just meaningful words can. This allowed more money to be raised for disaster relief in the post-earthquake stricken Haiti. I think that this is important, but I also think that a line can be crossed. I think photographs could do their job just fine without showing elements such as piles of dead bodies or severed body parts.

Photographs, even graphic photographs, are fine in the media. But journalists should also stay aware that certain elements could be found insensitive or dehumanizing to a population, especially a population that is just recovering from an epic tragedy.

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